Photo Credit:

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
San Mateo Event Center
1346 Saratoga Drive
San Mateo CA 94403

March 21- 25, 2012

READ MORE: UPDATE All Clear Given After Gas Leak In San Francisco's Inner Richmond

Hours: Wed to Sat 10 a.m to 7 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: $65/ Gala In The Gardens + entry to 5 days of the show; $25/Pass – entry for all 5 days; $20/one day ticket; $18/Seniors & Over; $15/Half Day- after 3pm, or Sun after 2pm; Children 16 & under/Free

For many in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show is the official calling card of spring, meaning your crusade for the perfect lawn and garden begins here and now. This year’s display garden theme, ‘Gardens For A Green Earth,’ is dedicated to conservation and green design with creative entries from Goulart Design, Wemco Landscapes and French’s Waterscapes to name a few. Explore more than 200 exhibitors, watch celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, and bring the kids for a variety of fun activities they’ll dig. The world-class garden show is held at the San Mateo Event Center located at 1346 Saratoga Drive in San Mateo, midway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Photo Credit:

Display Gardens

The raison d’etre of all flower and garden shows is, of course, the display gardens. Nearly two dozen companies and organizations will be creating living works of art to vie for gold, silver, and bronze medals as well as 12 additional awards. 1,200 cubic yards of sawdust and mulch and 140 tons of rock will be transformed into magnificent, awe-inspiring, themed landscapes on par with Rivera murals and Chihuly glass sculptures. Look for the Darjit garden, which incorporates numerous elements of recycled, reused, and repurposed urban waste. Somnium Viridian demonstrates the potential sustainability of gardens, requiring no watering and utilizing solar energy to power the waterfall and water filtration and storage systems. PLANit Green’s ambitious design features a pavilion symbolizing Earth surrounded by a “Milky Way” of planted beds and living columns representing each of the four elements.

Related: Best Outdoor Activities In The Bay Area

Do-It-Yourself Projects
DIY Stage – Lawn Tent
Click here for schedule

One of the most enjoyable aspects of gardening is getting down and dirty and literally creating something with your own two hands (with a little help from Mother Nature). For many gardeners and garden enthusiasts, doing it yourself is the only way to do it, and there are plenty of opportunities at this year’s show to learn new techniques. Beginners can learn the basics of composting from Alane Weber, pruning taught by Jack McKinnon , and the always popular flower arranging with Robert Gordon. More advanced techniques and exotic plants are featured in four Japanese Maple workshops offered by Tricia Smyth and Barry Hoffer, state-of-the-art building materials with Geoff Coffey, and vertical gardening with Fern Richardson. Of course a number of the seminars address this year’s green theme, among them water conservation with Nan Sterman and recycled and reused planting containers with Organic Mechanics will also be featured.

Photo Credit:

Small Space Gardening
Seminar Stage – Meeting Pavilion
Click here for schedule

READ MORE: UPDATE: PG&E Warns of Possible Rotating Outages as Bay Area Cooks Amid Heat Wave

Real estate is a premium in these parts, so having the experts impart their wisdom saves you time, putting a little green in your balcony and your pocket. “Yard Crashers” and “Turf War” host Ahmed Hassan shares his knowledge and years of landscaping experience at “Small Space Gardening,” while gardening expert Joe Lamp’l helps you correct those “5 Big Gardening Mistakes” while creating beautiful and functional landscapes. Join Lorene Edwards Forkner at “Small Is The New Big” seminar for an informative discussion on small garden designs that pack a large wallop. The Expo Hall brings it all together as exhibitors demonstrate small-space designs perfect for small decks and yards.

Fiesta Hall
Click here for schedule

One of the highlights of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show remains Sproutopia, where students imaginations run wild. Form and function meet whimsical and intuitive at the Children’s Gardens. Workshops include “Bonsai for Kids,” creating jewelry from recycled material in “Funky Junky Fashion,” and the transformation of Stanley the Caterpillar in “Meet the Monarch Butterflies” all located in Fiesta Hall.

Photo Credit:

Bay Area Celebrity Chefs
Chef Stage – Sequoia Hall
Click here for schedule

Celebrity chef cooking demonstrations include techniques and fusion recipes from Bar Agricole’s Brandon Jew, Greg Dunmore of Nojo making his tasty yakitori, Connie Green and Sarah Scott, authors of “The Wild Table” will be on hand to sign copies and discuss the foraging movement, as will the delightful Martin Yan of “Yan Can Cook” fame, and Annie Somerville and Wendy Johnson, co-founders of the venerable Greens restaurant.

Related: Best Guacamole In San Francisco

Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at

MORE NEWS: Prompted By Drought Emergency, Morgan Hill Imposes Mandatory Water Restrictions